Otto & The Mutapa Calling

Marimba music from southern Africa for hire.
Southern African marimba band music performances for all types of events, with drumming, singing and dancing.

With high energy and an authentic sound, they never disappoint and always have the audience on their feet

Heidi Sincuba, Curator Of Makeba / Heidi Sincuba Presents

You really added such a great celebratory atmosphere to our wedding and the guests absolutely loved it!...

Emma Tang
Listen to Otto & The Mutapa Calling

Otto & The Mutapa Calling's Bio

Born and bred in Botswana, Otto started playing the marimba at the age of 11. He continued to play marimba music throughout his secondary school years, studying under marimba pioneer and composer, Alport Mhlanga. He played in the school band until he left Botswana in 2003, having performed widely in Botswana and South Africa.

After relocating to Sweden, Otto joined Zimba Marimba Band, a high energy marimba band specialising in the music, dance and traditions of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. With Zimba, through the great initiative of Peta Axelsson, Otto got to delve deeply into the music of Zimbabwe; learning from and performing with an array of internationally acclaimed musicians; working on marimba, mbira, dance and drumming, with performances in and around Scandinavia, in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and the United States of America. Highlights include performances for the King and Queen of Sweden in 2003, ZimFest in the USA in 2004, and being specially invited to perform at HIFA – Harare International Festival of the Arts – in 2007.

Otto moved to London in 2010 after graduating, and played with acts and artists including Chedu, Flame Lily Arts, Afriquoi and Tsungai Tsikirai. To date, Otto has featured on recordings by Thornhill Marimba Band, Maru-a-Pula Marimba Band, Zimba Marimba Band, Afriquoi and Flame Lily Arts. He provided music for the 2017 documentary, Apes of Brecon Beacon.

The Taste of Southern Africa concert presents a wonderful collection of folk songs from southern Africa – sharing with their audiences ancient rhythms, sounds and stories from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana. They deliver their show using the marimba and mbira, accompanied by singing, drumming and dancing.

Taste of Southern Africa is perfect for festivals, theatres and arts centres, as well as education programmes in schools and universities exploring topics of diversity. Their concert is also particularly relevant for black history month themes.

The concert can also be easily packaged with participatory workshops or audience involvement, giving audiences a much greater, and invaluable, hands-on cultural learning experience.

Otto has also put together a seven piece band playing a lively, rhythmic collection of original arrangements of folk songs from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, alongside some of Otto’s own original songs, mostly sung in Setswana. The band’s setup includes soprano, tenor and baritone marimbas, mbira dzavadzimu, hosho, drumming, singing and traditional dances.

A typical set list of their Zimbabwean folk songs would include songs like Taive Gumi Nevaviri, Manhanga Kutapira, Gandanga, Torai Mapadza, Chemutengure, Usacheme (Chiwoniso Maraire), Mancube, Skokiana, Sayiwela, Chikende, Sarura Wako, Mhururu (Kuda Mutsvene), Mvura Yakanaya, Mhondoro Dzinonwa.

Testimonials

 Otto and his team played a wonderful show for us at the architectural association for the annual summer party! He’s great with communication and always willing to help in any way he can. It’s great working with someone who takes his profession seriously and I would highly recommend him”

Leo Hasseriis, Architecture Association School Of Architecture

“You really added such a great celebratory atmosphere to our wedding and the guests absolutely loved it! Fantastic music! You are all so talented! Thank you for helping make our day so special!”

Emma Tang

“We saw you play at the Southbank the other day – you were all amazing! My boyfriend and I loved you, such great fun and absolutely the highlight of our day!”

Katherine Ridley

“Brilliant performance! These artists are creating something unique that deserves a wider audience.”

Clifford Coker

“You guys were amazing! Thank you for making our day so memorable!”

Ngaa Zivuku

“A southern African acoustic band, led by Otto Gumaelius, marimba performing artist and teacher, provided an intriguing performance that fascinated everyone”

African Cuisine Magazine

“With high energy and an authentic sound, they never disappoint and always have the audience on their feet”

Heidi Sincuba, Curator Of Makeba / Heidi Sincuba Presents

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